Racism, Colorism and Power
By Larry D. Crawford (Mwalimu A. Bomani Baruti)
Most of us would have little to no problem agreeing that the range of color Afrikan people possess is awesome. Black, in all its splendid hues, is indeed beautiful. It should also go without saying, that this variation is useless as an index for judging individual beauty, intelligence, aspirations and the like. Ones complexion is intrinsically irrelevant to any and all of these qualities.
Yet we practice the European model of a racial hierarchy. And, having adopted it, any value we believe we independently, consciously or not, attach to different complexions in our community is merely a pathetic imitation of its racist beliefs at the societal level. So, in this new age of consciousness raising it must be realized that we cannot embrace a color-based hierarchy among Afrikans without, at some level, accepting as truth a hierarchy of color among humans. There is no denying that the social organization of our community along lines of color precisely mimics the order fabricated by white supremacy. Black America (Afrikans) serves as a classic microcosm in white supremacys global macrocosm. The only appreciable difference is that we "discriminate" without power.
Therefore, since in fact we are guilty of complicity, one of the most fundamental questions we need to answer is why it is so critically important to some in our midst that we not discuss the skin tone stratification that does in fact exist in our community. Why is it that even the most intelligent exchange we have about how we perceive and treat each other individually, as a reaction to others reaction against how much pigment the Creator gave us collectively, is considered taboo or "airing our dirty laundry," even among ourselves? There is nothing wrong with range in complexion, or in liking your complexion wherever it may fall along that range. That should be a given. The problem is in the heavy and almost exclusive fascination with one end of that spectrum, the end perceived as closest to the European.
The almost immediate response when opening this already tender wound again is, "Why do we have to go there?" "Why are we dealing with a dead issue?" The assumption is that if we dont talk about it it will somehow just go away. Essential to this acquiescence is the belief that everyone, especially Europeans deep down in their hearts, if we just patiently show them how by setting a nonviolent moral example, wants race to become irrelevant. In other words, if we state that we bear no identity other than human, we will by default become this in practice and eventually reality. That is an attitude of the vanquished from fear, from ignorance. For as Bobby E. Wright warned negroes, negroettes and other lost souls, "It is pathological for blacks to keep attempting to use moral suasion on a people who have no morality where race is the variable." What really happens when we wont talk about it, when it is left to fester, is that it gains power among those individuals who have a vested interest in not discussing it because they tend to benefit disproportionately from it (be they others or some of us falling at the overemphasized end of the spectrum or hungrily lapping up the crumbs given to them for maintaining divisions among their own). Political silence from the dispossessed always strengthens those privileged by the status quo.
Ignoring it will not make it go away. It never has. It never will. If history teaches us anything, it demonstrates when things that can harm us are intentionally ignored they will eventually return with a vengeance on those arrogant, fearful or even careless enough to dismiss them. Universal law does not allow us to perpetually sweep pain under a rug. It accumulates until there is too much to be contained. Then, it returns like "chickens coming home to roost."
But first, before we engage each other in any meaningful discussion of this issue, we must sort out and clarify our definitions. Colorism, not racism, is the correct term for describing the prejudices that Afrikans hold about each other and seemingly use against or to the advantage of themselves and others of relatively similar complexion.
In this respect, prejudice, which is an attitude, a way of thinking, must be distinguished from discrimination, which necessarily involves action. An attitude or thought is without power unless acted upon. Colorism, in the cultural context of group power, is an attitude. This article is couched in terms of power. There is no meaningful discussion of the individual or group without a central and causative focus on real indicators of power for the individual or group relative to other individuals and groups. This is not a discussion of influence because no matter how measured it is a function of power. Without the perceived potential threat of enforcement through an exercise of retaliatory power, influence is meaningless and, in fact, laughable. In the European cultural context, influence without the perception of a sufficient power base is ignored.
In the white supremacist cultural context of European society, Afrikans have never been in the position to exercise power against Europeans based on the color of their skin. Colorism is reflected in intragroup interaction. It occurs within a group. It operates at the level of family. Racism, on the other hand, has nothing to do with family. It regulates the distribution of resources between two or more groups through the actual or threatening use of power. It occurs in the intergroup arena and is unquestionably, viewed through the telling lens of history, the natural posture of Europeans toward Afrikans and every other people with color.
...racism [is] discrimination by a group against another for the purposes of subjugation or maintaining subjugation. In other words one cannot be a racist unless he has the power to subjugate. What blacks are doing is merely to respond to a situation in which they find themselves the objects of white racism.
Racism is a European manufacture. They planted and cultivated it everywhere they went. It is a tool of white supremacy that elevates the European and creates oppression and antagonistic infighting among the remaining disempowered population. Their first institutionalization of racism occurred in India but, of course, did not end there. In that they are global trespassers, it is a global phenomenon. They were and remain its carriers. Racism continues to be replicated wherever they "discover" new, untamed frontiers and "uncivilized" peoples. It remains constant in those places where they have physically departed but remain absentee resource controllers.
That racism, however defined, has finally come to be conceded by European intellectuals and their audience as a permanent social fixture should not be news to us. The power it gives the beneficiaries of white supremacy should never have been thought to be relinquished easily, if at all. Racism is not logical. It is not susceptible to moral reason. It can not and will not be peacefully negotiated away.
Consequently, to keep the thin veneer of racial harmony intact, racisms definition has been modified to exonerate its source. New world order everyone-should-love-each-other-and-forgive-and-forget-what-they-systematically-and-savagely-did-to-our-ancestors-and-still-do-to-us-because-were-all-human propaganda is designed to make us feel that they are being unfairly accused and victimized. Racism and colorism have become purposefully entangled to the point where, "by making racism everyones disease, you make it incurable...the universalization of blame implies that people of color must suffer discrimination without hope of escape."
By this switch, this redefinition, it is made to seem as if we do it to ourselves. We become the source, the culprit, the lone, unprovoked perpetrator. We become the initiators. We become racisms history. Europeans no longer play any part beyond being members of a human family where everybody is naturally as racist as they have proven themselves to be.
We must learn that political definitions are created by people to benefit themselves. They serve self-interested agendas. From an Afrikan centered perspective, we must define racism, as a homegrown byproduct of white supremacy.
We must make the best use of our most profound and historically grounded warrior scholars in our definitions. As an example of this need, accepting the basic mainstream Western social science definitions of nuclear families as having both a wife and husband with possibly one or more children and extended families as containing no less than two adult couples with one or more children and possibly other relatives inevitably leads us to masochistically define our own families as abnormal and dysfunctional. Equally damaging, any submission to their newfangled definition of racism bestows innocence upon them except for a few bad apples, leaving those of us who apperceive white supremacy in the unenviable position of being labeled vindictive, spiteful social misfits, "unable to just let it go" and just let it disappear through silence.
Racism must be defined by Afrikans in terms of our historical relationship to Europeans centuries old festival of "death, destruction and domination." It must be defined as a function of power. It must become recognized for what it is, a function of the perception of the probability of a threat or actual exercise of power by Europeans against Afrikans. There must be a record of unprovoked, unnecessary, excessive killing. The racist must be known and feared for killing for nothing. Without power, racism cannot exist. It would blow away like the dust of a disintegrated corpse.
The social ranking of people by skin tone within the Afrikan community requires serious, open and ongoing discussion as to its roots, manifestations and tenacity because it continuously feeds divisive political relations, particularly along class and gender lines. Colorism intensifies the intragroup antagonisms already aggravated by infighting over a limited number of discarded political and economic crumbs. The proverbial divide and conquer strategy endures because it is nursed, not because we have nothing in common.
Here are some mental exercises that, with honest reflection, can help bring this common confusion over what different points along the complexion range consciously and subconsciously imply closer to home.
Imagine on different but very similar busy streets, two Afrikan women of comparable appearance (weight, height, hair length and texture, attire, mannerisms, nails, facial features, smile, etc.), except one is dark complexioned and the other much lighter, are stranded with car problems. Who will, in all real probability, receive the most, and most immediate, assistance from Afrikan males? From any males?
And as a related aside brothers, why is it that every time most brothers see a crowd of sisters, our eyes are immediately drawn to the one with the lightest skin? Dont deny before you think. This is not an accusation. Some mistakenly call this evidence of good social training.
When you go to a party no one blindfolds you at the door, has you point your index finger straight out, spins you around, and whoever you are pointing at when you stop turning is who you bump and grind with. Do you honestly and intelligently take the time to find out whats in her head and heart before detailing her form? Dont deny. Check yourself cause nothing is wrong with her. She had no say over the way she was born. Dont say "not me" until you take the time to really think about it. Now that youve given it some thought, when we do this which brain is thinking? The grey one, the color-ranking white supremacist one, or the other one (or some combination thereof)?
Why do the teachers pets of today have the same complexion and features as they did 20, 40 60, 80, 100 years ago? Even after the "Say It Loud Im Black and Im Proud" 1960s it is still a constant. Why do the sisters we tend to consider the "finest" and "phatest" today have the same complexion and features as they did 20, 40 60, 80, 100 years ago? Why do Afrikans still prefer to live in predominantly European communities? And, why do Afrikan Catholic congregations still prefer more than any other denomination to have a European preaching from their pulpits?
Something this pervasive and internalized is a function of European cultural imperatives, of a rating system excreted from the bowels of white supremacy. And are those of us who are so enraged at Europeans favoring those Afrikans they found more aesthetically pleasing that you have developed the ability to "black out," to despise, to resent, those sisters any better? The Universe chose their complexion, not Europeans. Further, there is no correlation between level of melanin and consciousness, only level of melanin and access to the masters crumbs in this culture. And privilege in European society is still the Europeans choice. Revolutionary brothers and sisters would rather inspect and check the colorism poisoning their minds than be governed by superficial physical endowments.
Can you picture a black angel, blue black from the sole of her sandals to the crest of her halo? Can you truly visualize that? For many of us, the only possible conclusion is that this is the Angel of Death. Yet, assuming you believe heaven is a place, we must have ancestors there somewhere with the darkest of skin. Either that or you have bought into the descendants of Ham absurdity. So why are Afrikan angels so hard to visualize? A wise person would have to know that the Angel of Death has proven himself to be anything but Afrikan.
Coincidentally, why does the general complexion become darker and darker when you travel from upper to middle to lower class Afrikan communities? Why is it that most homeless men are dark complexioned? Why do we become affectively shocked or disturbed at the sight of a light complexioned homeless man? Why does the former seem more natural and the latter utterly out of place? Why is it that most homeless women are also dark complexioned? But, most importantly, are these observations proof of the validity of eugenics (scientific racism) theories tying greater intelligence and drive with less color? Or is something else at play here?
Could anything cause Afrikans to go into debt for cosmetic surgeries that broaden their noses and lips, tighten their curls or darken their eyes? In all probability, no. Dont be that confused, small mind who hurts his or her brain trying to find that one, or two, European female actresses who supposedly call this vastly disproportionate truth into question by trying to dred her hair or implant plastic in her behind. Dont follow the path of those mental midgets who claim racial equality has been reached in capital punishment because the one or two European males they searched so hard for who were executed by the state for killing Afrikans somehow balances the thousands of Afrikan males accused of lesser crimes and murdered by the state and its mobs. Would an entrepreneur make any money selling products that would make us more "Afrikan" looking as compared to one who offers a product that physically changed us into Nordics or Celtics? If color and features are of no importance and preference is in no particular direction, then why does the vast majority of cosmetic surgery performed on Afrikans make them appear more European? Why the desperate emphasis on thinness; thinner noses, thinner lips, thinner thighs, thinner hips, lesser curl, lighter colored eyes?
The propagated ideal woman is necessarily unnatural. She is as far from the average human female as European culture can possibly make her. The farther she is from natural, the greater the potential profits for a business community that thrives on leading people to want and be what they do not have and are not. The goal is to consistently make the abnormal, unnatural, unaverage desirable and turn that want into a need. The goal is to turn people outside of themselves, to remove all vestiges of internal and communal control or guidance, and plug them into an externally controlled market. You could call it market terrorism. Individuals are driven to comply with commercial pressures to be socially accepted while at the same time they are kept disoriented as to the progressive direction of market fabricated needs allowing any new and improved product to become their most important priority.
If it really doesn't matter, as the so-called authorities posing as Black talk show hosts assure us, why go only in a whitening direction? If "beauty" is a quality found among all people, and Europeans represent less than 10% of the worlds population and, therefore, less than 10% of all natural beauty, why are the physical disfigurations people of color seek almost universally one-way, the way of the "perfect" European model?
Skin whitening products still disgrace African American homes. In 1990 $44 million was spent on skin bleaching products in this country. The amount increases yearly. From here, its use has spread across the planet like a contagion. As a "beneficiary" of European cultural imperialism, it is no surprise that our motherlands urban population seems to welcome these menticidal products with open arms. Surgical procedures offering to even more rapidly and permanently transform black into white are attracting consumers left and right from Cape Town to Tunis. Marketed primarily to women who have the triple disadvantage of being Afrikan, poor and female, these operations leave their skin melaninless. Doctors have found that this literally kills it. They are finding that without the melanin this new and improved, i.e., white, skin no longer heals naturally. Wounds seem to take forever to heal, if they ever do.
Think about it. If Michael Jackson really had a skin disease that left splotches of lightened skin, why didnt he simply take the less costly and more logical route of simply darkening those splotches to match the rest of his skin instead of lightening the majority of his unblemished skin to match the abnormalities? If you even had the slightest idea of who you are that would make sense. One has to question the use of anti-blemish concoctions as "only" blemish removers, unless the blemish is the entire body. Some refer to it as "the bleaching syndrome" an obsession with turning oneself white. Is there even a reason to ask why, even after being publicly exposed, the leading Afrikan cosmetic producer still suggests makeup bases lighter than the women they are used on?
One more thought to invoke more thought. If language is without power and color is irrelevant, why is there a distinct and intensely different emotional response associated with being called a black nigga versus a plain ol nigga, a black bitch versus an ordinary one? Why is one fighting words and the other a term of endearment?
By now, we should be sick and tired of people arguing that their color was a genetic accident, or that they just happen to be Black or that it makes no difference whether you are Black or white and, therefore, that race is a nonissue, that we should forget about it and go on about the business of success. People say they dont want to be called Black or Afrikan using the excuse that it is limiting. Its interesting that to say youre white is not. When your validation comes from Europeans rather than being who and what you naturally are, you can never measure up. Duh! You are not European! In a white supremacist culture you necessarily must deny yourself in order to succeed.
But having a historically conscious Afrikan center allows one to knowingly respond to such insanity with, "Since when has being Afrikan prevented anyones ascension?" Why have we come to believe that pursuing the will of our ancestors consigns us to mental and material poverty? If success is an individual, and/or group, choice whenever, wherever and under whatever conditions you find yourself, then there is an absolute truth in the instruction that
before a person can achieve the kind of life he desires, he must become that kind of individual. He must think, act, talk, walk, and conduct himself in all of his affairs as would the person he wishes to become -- in the spirit of a right mental attitude. He is then actually that person, and the things that person would have and do will naturally come to him. (Italics in original)
There must be a reason we are urged to "structure your world in such a way that you are constantly reminded of who you are and what you want to be."
Color is accidental to success as considered in the context of this discussion. But not in the way European culture would have us think. None is better qualified than Gwendolyn Brooks to admonish us in this respect that, "black people who want above all things not to be black are the most pitiable and comical people in the world." Race men and women have always guided us in the Afrikan Way. Would it be incorrect to contend that Fannie Lou Hamer, Malcolm X (El Hajj Malik el Shabazz), Drusilla Houston, Gil Scott-Heron, Kwame Ture, Ida B. Wells, Queen Mother Moore, Martin R. Delaney, Marcus Garvey and Ella Baker were not both Afrikan and successful?
This does not mean that in this aging European world order race is no longer relevant. Biological differences in color continue to be used as white supremacys primary justification for asserting racial differences in morality, intelligence, beauty and aspiration. Many of us are still plagued by that menticidal insanity. A recent National Opinion Research Center survey exemplifies this. It disclosed that "53.2 percent [of whites] thought blacks were "less intelligent" than them. What should have been no surprise to most of us about the thought of natural white supremacist was frustrated by the statistic that "30 percent of the blacks surveyed agreed." Obviously, some very serious confusion remains.
Contrary to popular belief, we are not our own worst enemy. Although, we have often behaved as colorist as Europeans have been racist. However, we are talking in the tense of what has been, not what can be. As the future vanguard, we must begin the process of intelligently and interactively dismantling this vehicle of cultural imperialism. It cannot be done without scientific and historical understanding. One of the reasons that Ossie Davis served as narrator of the movie "X" was because he attempted to expose the oppositional nature of black and white which formed a basis for white supremacy. What Malcolm did with the dictionary in jail he, too, did in a scholarly and published article. They both found that the vast majority of terms indicating black or dark connoted bad or evil while those synonymous with white or light symbolized good or virtue.
Language a is very powerful tool. When oral or written symbols are reinforced through entertainment, education and religion, it becomes even more potent. Words communicate meanings that are commonly understood by all participants or they cannot stand as a method for conveying meaning or order. The subconscious, symbolic reality which people speak into existence facilitates the exercise of power or reveals impotence. Words, also, are made into allies or enemies. Our unspoken awareness of the European meanings behind the symbols we use demonstrates a willing consumption of a racist reference groups seductive culture. The language we ape reveals our not so blind endorsement of anothers self-benefitting cultural definitions about color, ours relative to their lack of it.
The proof of our acceptance of others definitions is too great to ignore or attribute to chance. But one remains a noteworthy classic. Half a century ago, Mamie and Kenneth Clark's study clearly demonstrated our seemingly natural love for Europeans. Their study has been repeated several times since with very similar results. And, regardless of minor methodological flaws, there is something to be learned from them. The question it proves that still needs to be asked is, "Why would Afrikan children all over the world die to be European like Barbie and Ken?" as so well articulated in novels like Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye. Why is self-hate a rite of passage into Afrikan adulthood?
Looked at from another angle, a number of European students were asked if they woke up to find they were Afrikan what amount of money would they feel was just compensation. The size of the amount, and even acknowledgment that reparations would be appropriate, indicates that Europeans know the severe social and cultural disadvantage of having black skin in western society. The level this awareness may be subconsciously embedded is irrelevant. Their poor little rich white mans feelings are not at stake here. Does the innocent Afrikan man just sentenced to "twenty to life" really give a damn if the judge is only subconsciously racist? Europeans understand what they have done to the minds of Afrikans. It should come as no surprise that
...most [of the white students] seemed to feel that it would not be out of place to ask for $50 million, or $1 million for each coming black year. And this calculation conveys, as well as anything, the value that white people place on their own skins. Indeed, to be white is to possess a gift whose value can be appreciated only after it has been taken away. And why ask so large a sum? Surely this needs no detailing. The money would be used, as best it could, to buy protections from the discriminations and dangers white people know they would face once they were perceived to be black.
We would be remiss if the question of who does colorism benefit was not posed. As Afrikans we need to assess just how our fighting over scarce crumbs translate into limited power for us and benefits others. Peace is not profitable to exploiters. And masses, organized along whatever lines, are always a grave threat to any real, core exploiting class. They understand our power. We must be made to waste it fighting each other. We must be made to think that anything that creates tension within our ranks is of our manufacture. Remember when Afrikan men lashed out at Afrikan women writers when Afrikan "male-bashing" novels became glorified in the media? We did this without realizing that European males wittingly controlled this imbalanced presentation or considering the number of female bashing novels Afrikan men wrote. We must be kept isolated from our power.
Power comes from self-love. Self-love comes from historical awareness and political organization. Part of that awareness is derived from studying the choices made in our ancestors societies. Read pages 163-174 in Erriel D. Robersons The Maafa & Beyond. And, then, get busy.
Yes, we can go back in time and find in some a preference for lighter skin women. But, then again, we find in some very dark women or brown women or small women or large women or short women or tall women most desired. But nowhere and at no time do we find the extensive, intensive invidious, destructive intragroup antagonisms based on differences in pigment as are found wherever Europeans have defiled this planet.
A quite insightful example is Brazil. As the nation with the second largest national population of Afrikans on the planet, Brazil stands out most because of the covert "whitening" programs its judicial and law enforcement systems implemented to improve their reputation among Europeans as a choice tourist attraction. They have successfully lowered the melanin content of their visible population. Dark skinned children have become as undesirable there as homeless Afrikan men in Chicago, Atlanta, D.C., L.A., and everywhere else in the u.s. Mass graves of dark skinned boys, courtesy of the police, are so common that they no longer have any shock or ratings value in the Brazilian media. At the same time, Europeans awareness of their zero population growth rate and efforts to delay their impending fall by endearing tomorrows majority world leadership has reignited their unique practice of stealing the lightest complexioned kids and placing them with European families throughout Europe and the u.s.
Is colorism new? Of course not. Its almost as old as the word negro. In the u.s. we voluntarily, systematically, overtly and unashamedly pass down this same nonsense through everything from childrens clubs to fraternities to sororities to schools to churches to political offices to businesses. It is a sad commentary on our self-hate and pathological denial of it that we still speak of and prefer "good" hair. No wonder an incredible number of us are still driven to "pass" for European and hide among them.
As of the year 1950, the defectors had soared to 12,000 per annum. By 1980 the yearly tally was 17,000. If that number held steady during the 1980s conceivably it was greater then during that decade alone, some 170,000 persons abandoned Black identity and the Black American community. Even a conservative estimate would place those who slipped away to pass for white in the sixty years from 1930 to 1990, at some 630,000.
Anything but to be Afrikan.
Many Afrikans in the u.s. also still want to see themselves as distinct from Continental Afrikans. They use complexion and feature differences, some stooping so low as to include odor, following the arrogant lead of their masters who had to learn to bathe from the Moors, as an excuse to further sever themselves from any Afrikan bloodlines. In the effort to define themselves as nonAfrikan, i.e., moving with all due haste to remove the African from African American, they have done all in their power to conceal our rape. Interestingly enough, this is behavior common to rape survivors. In a last ditch effort to identify with the master, centuries of rape are intellectualized and transformed into love.
Rape is an act of war. In a nonsexist, righteous world, there should be no statute of limitations on rape. Since when do rapists qualify for the honor of ancestorship? To accept European ancestors is to deny our Afrikan ancestors.
At what point would a succession of rapes qualify a European to be one of your ancestors? Succession here means something done over and over and over again, with forethought and malice. Enslaved Afrikan women had little choice, short of murder-suicide, about exchanging sex to feed their children or secure mercy for their men. Why should the real superfreaks who biologically and culturally defiled, desecrated and defaced us through enslavement, colonization, neoslavery and neocolonization deserve to be honored in this most sacred way? Europeans are not our ancestors. Even within the Afrikan community, elder or ancestor is a status that has to be earned. And now we want to reward the rapist as ancestor.
Understanding that, understand this. Rape can be consensual. Eurocentric theorists submit that that which occurred between slaves and masters, European jewish women and their Nazi tormentors, those kidnaped and their kidnappers are worthy examples of consensual rape. However, that whole discussion is irrelevant unless the Europeans definition of consensual is considered within the context of his overwhelming aggression as the enslaver.
Rape was a fact of life on the plantations. At any time and in any place, female slaves were subject to the drunken or abusive sexual advances of a master, an overseer, a neighbor, or a masters son. Few Black women reached the age of sixteen without having been molested by a White male.
...children had to watch their mothers being raped. Consider the scars that this leaves on a child. As impressionable as children are, for a child to watch or hear a parent being raped has to leave an emotional imprint in the memory that is damaging for a lifetime. One also must know the trauma a woman suffers through when she is raped...Our African sisters had to deal not just with the single harmful experience of being raped, but were repeatedly and randomly raped by ravenous enslavers...Additionally, husbands had to watch the repeated sexual abuse of their wives and fathers watched the repeated rape of their daughters. This had to be an emasculating experience. The aspect of manhood defined by ones ability to protect his family was taken away.
Love is truly blind. You can fall in love with a dog, or sheep as many a European has apparently done. What Thomas Jefferson repeatedly did to Sally Hemings only has meaning within the context of a terrorizing oppression. Did she have a choice? What probably would have happened had she refused his "loving" advances. Was the probable image of her rapist as "god" a choice on her part? No matter their historians latest lies, Thomas and Sally were not equal trading partners.
"The key to this understanding is, of course, in the fact that the kinds of questions asked predetermine the type of answers possible." European scholars and their minority clones who fabricate a humane enslaver and overemphasize the relative importance of enslaved men raping enslaved women and extend this relationship into today are also helping to absolve the masters behavior by highlighting that of his captives. While under any circumstances rape is unconscionable, the sexual exploitation of powerless female slaves by powerless male slaves is quantitatively different from that performed on Afrikan women by unrelenting, sex crazed European males. This is not about sexism. Sexist patriarchy is as innate to western culture as racism is. We must come to understand
...the diabolical nature of those who are aware that what they believe is a lie and what they do is wrong, but use lies and psychological manipulation to damage the minds of other people. The individuals who spread misinformation and cause psychological damage intentionally, fully aware of what they are doing, are different from those who are psychologically damaged. The agent of this psychosis is worse than those whose minds are poisoned to believe racist ideas and act upon them...This is a sickness of a different kind.
The propaganda overemphasizing the role of the enslaved during the Maafa helps normalize and overshadow the despicable deeds of the plantocracy and lesser European males. It gives the impression that enslaved Afrikan men collaborated with their "friend," the economically compelled but otherwise decent European male, in the terrorism and subjugation of Afrikan women. It is simply another instance of universalizing an extreme European behavior to induce the appearance of innocence and rationalize as uncontrollable the influence of capitalism over an otherwise morally and ethically upstanding people.
Another idea, defensively wormed into the colorism debate, that the range in color found among Afrikans is the result of slaves being harvested from all over the Afrikan continent, is also misleading, distracting and untrue. Research clearly and unequivocally proves that the Afrikans enslaved and raped by Europeans almost exclusively came from the western region of middle Afrika. Further, when discussing complexion in general, a survey of the range of color on the Continent shows that today, like four centuries ago, most Afrikans who are of lighter complexion are the result of the infusion of European and Arabian blood and primarily reside in the southern and northern most regions. Most slaves were of dark complexion. Even if this were not proven fact it would be common sense given the visual evidence. Have you seen pictures of light complexioned Afrikans in chains in route to the Americas? This inquiry also commonsensically applies to depictions of slave auctions, the enslaved in the fields who greatly outnumbered the "house slaves" as well as a significant number of the free Afrikans who were merely 1.6% of the population as counted near the end of slavery.
Finally in this discussion of family relations, those using the endearing excuse that most Afrikans have at least one drop of European blood as an indication of a natural genetic basis for racial harmony tend to seek a biological justification for their already greater attachment to Europeans than Afrikans. If anything, the recognition of rapes pervasiveness and viciousness should provide the basis for revolutionary thinking. Forgiveness is not the problem. Forgetfulness is.
All of this discussion points us toward the Afrikan Way. The artificial and imposed skin tone distinctions brought about through the rape of Afrikan women by European men represent the model of divisiveness among Afrikans and complimentary imitation of the European racial hierarchy that we seek to destroy and redefine along Afrikan lines of family. We can not afford to allow our children to participate in and pass on this menticidal nonsense. It must stop now, with us. Nyabinga.
Larry D. Crawford has been an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Morehouse College since 1991, and has been recognized for his dedication to students and community alike. He serves as the advisor to numerous student organizations at Morehouse College as well as other institutions in the Atlanta University Center.